Today, I had the privilege of attending a free group training on Hands-Only CPR in Loveland, CO, a “Heart Safe City.” I met Tommy Lucero, a young man who, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, “Went into cardiac arrest during baseball practice in 2014 and was revived by two coaches. He has fully recovered and is a senior this year” at Thompson Valley High School (the same high school my daughter attended).
He would have died without the CPR. “Shortly after the incident, the Lucero family joined the then-newly formed Loveland Heart Safe initiative to help save lives. Since then, the partnership has raised money, knowledge and awareness.”
What is Hands-Only CPR? According to the American Heart Association website, “Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an ‘out-of-hospital’ setting (such as at home, at work or in a park). It consists of two easy steps:
- Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that).
- Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.”
Why learn Hands-Only CPR? “Cardiac arrest – an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and disrupts the flow of blood to the brain, lungs and other organs – is a leading cause of death. Each year, over 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately getting CPR from someone nearby.”
According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
The McKee Medical Center Foundation has partnered with McKee Medical Center, the CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado, Thompson Valley EMS, the Loveland Police Department, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority and the city of Loveland’s dispatch services department, to become a designated “Heart Safe City.” Tom Lucero and Julie Kruit, parents of a high school student and baseball player whose life was saved thanks to the use of an AED, are also part of the partnership.
According to the Reporter-Herald, “The partnership has worked to train community members in CPR, including a current effort underway to teach every tenth grader in the Thompson School District the life-saving skill. By the end of the week, a total of 450 students will have completed the class at Thompson Valley and Mountain View High School and lessons will follow at Loveland and Berthoud High Schools.” They were also hoping to train up to 600 people in the four group training sessions held this morning. About 60 people attended the training session I went to.